Thursday, May 27, 2010

Empty, Very Empty

Everyone knows space is big, really big.

Most don't know though that space is empy, really really empty.

Almost everyone is unaware of just how empty space is. They are used to the elementary through high school displays of our solar system that makes it seem almost crowded - at least in our very on solar system.

However, there are a number of websites that help illustrate how empty the solar system is by building a solar system starting with something of size most of us are familiar with to replace the sun. Then the surprises come.

For instance if your build our solar system with the sun approximately 10 inches in diameter (roughly the size of a basketball), then the earth is approximately 9/100ths of an inch in diameter and 89 feet away. Again the earth is only 0.09 inches in diameter and one foot shy of being 30 yards away from the sun.

In between the earth and the sun (our basketball) are Mercury (0.03 inches in diameter and 11 yards and 1 foot from the sun (the basketball) while Venus - my favorite morning star - is 0.087 inches in diameter and just over 21 yard from the sun (our basketball).

So picture it this way: Set a basketball on the goal line of a football field then 11 yards out place the rollerball from a medium ink pen (0.7mm) follwed by 8.5 shot size pellet 21 yards out followed by 8.0 shot size pellet (our very own earth) at just under 30 yards out!

Of course you would have the largest planet, Jupiter, one inch (!) in diameter and 155 yards out. Then you have Pluto (almost the size of a BB here) on the outer edge of our solar system 1,280 football fields out from the original goal line.

So what inhabits our solar system that is 2,380 football fields in diameter measured to the furthest out planet?

The SUN - Basketball - size/10" - center

Then the planets
1 - Mercury - med ballpoint - size/0.035" - 34' to center
2 - Venus - 8.5 pellet shot - size/0.87" - 64' to center
3 - Earth - 8.0 pellet shot - size/0.92" - 89' to center
4 - Mars - med ballpoint - size/0.049" - 136' to center
5 - Jupiter - spinning quarter - size/1.00" - 465' to center
6 - Saturn - spinning U.S. nickel - size/0.84" - 854' to center
7 - Uranus - cooked green pea - size/0.034" - 1,718' to center
8 - Neptune - cooked green pea - size/0.033" - 2,694' to center.
9 - Pluto - BB pellet - size/0.016" - 3,540' to center

So if we think of our solar system not as the disc we usually consider, but as a sphere, we have a sphere 1.33 miles across with a basketball at the center, two medium size ballpoint pen balls, two peas, 3 pellets of different size, a spinning quarter, and a spinning nickel.

That's it. 1.33 miles in diameter and empty, almost completely entirely empty. The one thing that helps is the how our sun illuminates the entire solar system.

Bet you never look at those school displays of the solar system the same way again..

No comments:

Post a Comment